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Democracy Now!

Headlines: Puerto Rico Faces Humanitarian Crisis, Trump Unveils New Tax Plan

Puerto Rico: Hospitals in Crisis Amid Shortages of Water, Power and Medicine

In Puerto Rico, hospitals report they’re at capacity and struggling to maintain operations — part of a growing humanitarian catastrophe more than a week after Hurricane Maria devastated the island. The Pentagon says the majority of Puerto Rico’s 69 hospitals don’t have enough fuel to power electric generators, as the island’s entire electrical grid has collapsed. At San Jorge Children’s Hospital in San Juan, managers have repeatedly pleaded for diesel fuel as medical teams have faced blackouts of up to three hours. At the White House, a reporter asked President Trump Wednesday why he’s denied requests to waive shipping restrictions under the Jones Act, which would allow more food, water, fuel and medicine to reach the island.

"Well, we’re thinking about that, but we have a lot of shippers and a lot of people and a lot of people that work in the shipping industry that don’t want the Jones Act lifted. And we have a lot of ships out there right now," Trump said.

The president’s comment came as members of Congress said the Trump administration is blocking their attempts to visit Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The Washington Post reports that since Monday evening, the White House and Pentagon have denied lawmakers permission to use military aircraft to make the trips. Among those affected are at least 10 members of the House and Senate who were planning a trip for Friday.

Trump Unveils Tax Plan That Would Overwhelmingly Favor the Wealthiest

President Trump unveiled a tax plan Wednesday that would overwhelmingly favor corporations and the wealthiest Americans, while adding trillions of dollars to the national debt. The plan would end the estate tax on inherited wealth for the richest 0.2 percent of Americans and slash the top corporate tax rate from 35 to 20 percent. It would also abolish the alternative minimum tax—a move that would also benefit the wealthiest Americans, including President Trump. A leaked 2005 tax return shows Trump paid nearly $37 million in federal income taxes that year—most of it due to the alternative minimum tax. Speaking in Indianapolis Wednesday, President Trump falsely stated his tax plan would favor low- and middle-class households.

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